Famous cai luong play on love and crime restaged

The cai luong (reformed opera) play Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường (Bandit Bach Hai Duong), a production by well-known scriptwriter Nguyen Huynh, will be restaged in a new version 61 years after its premiere.

Famous cai luong play on love and crime restaged
Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường (Bandit Bạch Hải Đường), a cai luong (reformed opera) by well-known scriptwriter Nguyen Huynh, will be restaged in a new version 61 years after its premiere. — Photo courtesy of the producer 

The 120-minute play portrays Bach Hai Duong, a poor farmer living in a southern province who is forced to be a bandit to support his family.

It features the themes of love and unfaithfulness.

People’s Artist and theatre director Tran Ngoc Giau worked to rewrite the play in a new version to attract young people.

Giau invited Meritorious Artist Trong Phuc to play the bandit Duong and People’s Artist Thanh Ngan his wife. 

He invited young talent Nguyen Van Khoi, winner of the Chuông Vàng Vọng Cổ (Golden Bell) 2017, an annual national cải lương contest by Ho Chi Minh Television, to play a supporting role.     

“Our new version is targeted to young audiences, but we will still offer a pure cai luong style,” said Giau, who has more than 35 years of experience in the art.

 

Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường was first staged by the Hoai Duong-Hoai My Theatre Troupe in 1959 in Sai Gon (now HCM City). It attracted cai luong stars Hung Cuong and Ngoc Giau, who are recognised as canonical figures of the art form.

Its themes about love and betrayal have left a deep impression on audiences. The play has been staged many times by leading cai luong and drama theatres in the region.

Giau and his actors have worked several hours a day to offer the new version of Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường that will include traditional tunes that were sung when cai luong began in My Tho in Tien Giang Province in the 1920s.

“Through the new version of Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường, we will show off our love of cai luong and desire to introduce the art to young people,” said People’s Artist Ngan, who plays Đường’s wife.  

Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường will be restaged on June 27 at the Tran Huu Trang Theatre at 136 Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1.  VNS 

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